The Best Crabs Award Goes to The Shrimp Boat

the shrimp boat ocmd
The winner of The Best of Ocean City Crabs goes to The Shrimp Boat!

It’s no wonder The Shrimp Boat has won The Best of Ocean City Crabs! Take a look at the history, the menu, and the legacy that will continue.

Humble Beginnings for Captain Joe


shrimp boat crabs
Owner Joe White, holds up the original money system he and uncle had back in 1989.

Back in 1989, Captain Joe Crocetti began The Shrimp Boat as a simple market selling only shrimp and live clams with a lawn chair, a freezer box, and an umbrella. Fast forward 34 years and The Shrimp Boat is now winning local awards like The Best of Ocean City® Best Crabs. Now owned and run by Captain Joe’s nephew, Joe White, the seafood restaurant continues the legacy that Captain Joe had created.


Evolving and Expanding The Shrimp Boat


shrimp boat crabs
The original tip bell from The Shrimp Boat is out of commission but still rings lovely memories for the family.

People kept coming and people kept buying! But it seemed that they wanted more. 2009 was a pivotal year for the local place. Captain Joe began to cook steamed shrimp and steamed crabs for locals, but what he didn’t expect was the popularity it would bring. Outgrowing the first kitchen, which now works as the steam room, Captain Joe’s restaurant continued to grow even further. In 2010, with the request from regular customers, a few picnic tables were added. The next request? Beer of course! Captain Joe obliged but with local laws requiring inside eating in order to serve beer, inside seating was also added.  Joking, nephew Joe, told his uncle that he was going to want to sell the now restaurant due to the extra work load. And that’s exactly what happened. Joe White bought The Shrimp Boat from his uncle in 2012. Captain Joe continued to work around the restaurant and relaxed outside by the market- an actual boat transom. 

Joe White, current owner of The Shrimp Boat, reminisces about what the area looked like back when he was younger. 1993 was the first year they had running water. Filling two coolers, one with clean water and one with used, Captain Joe would take them home nightly, clean them out and bring them back the next day. The dynamic pair even had an extremely simple banking system. Two old fashioned metal band-aide boxes were used for bank deposits. White got nostalgic, showing off the very first tip bell that The Shrimp Boat ever had. The clapper of the bell is long gone, it no longer makes noise, but the sounds of the past are always in the back of his mind.


The Freshest Seafood


the shrimp boat ocmd
Only the freshest seafood is served. If you’re eating it today, it was swimming the day before.

Joe brings in local domestic blue crabs from Maryland and North Carolina along with local scallops, clams, shrimp, and mussels from Prince Edward Island. The crab meat from their crab cakes does not come from a can. Thank goodness! White uses his live crabs from the wholesale side of business and delivers them to local picking houses nearby. The crabs are hand picked, the meat is stored, and brought directly back to the restaurant within a day or two- never frozen. Joe and his crew travel six days a week back and forth to North Carolina to pick up fresh shrimp and pick up their hand picked crab meat. “That’s what it takes to deliver fresh seafood.”

Snow crabs legs obviously come from out of state- Alaska or even Canada. 


A Generational Tradition


the shrimp boat
Everyone loves getting their hands dirty for some crab picking at The Shrimp Boat!

When Joe walks around the restaurant now, not only does he see familiar faces, he recognizes the importance of his establishment in local family traditions. Families make it a point to stop at The Shrimp Boat for crabs year after year. He sees families growing, children growing up from babies to young adults, couples having families, and continuing their traditions with their own families. 


The Menu


the shrimp boat ocmd
Crabs served at The Shrimp Boat are local to Maryland!
the shrimp boat ocmd
Check out these virgin creamsickles! Looks like heaven on a tray.

When thinking about a menu, White had to ask What do people like to eat with crabs? The answer? Sweet corn, shrimp, scallops, string beans from local farms!

Joe decided to focus on a fresh menu but also a menu where everyone can find something they like. “Not everyone likes seafood- my wife and daughter included! I wanted to make sure everyone had a place at the table and something to enjoy. We serve the best burgers, chicken club sandwiches, and the best wings! And our wings, sweet potato fries, and french fries are all gluten free and fried in a separate fryer as well. I’m really proud of that.” Thinking about larger families that may need to accommodate allergies such as seafood and gluten, it seems as though The Shrimp Boat has really thought about everything!


A Fried Hard Crab?


the shrimp boat ocmd
Only the freshest food is served at The Shrimp Boat- that means local corn, too!

For those that have tasted a fried hard crab from The Shrimp Boat, don’t fret! White has plans to bring back the infamous fried hard crab back right after Bike Week! And for those that are saying, “What’s That?” Joe explains that it’s a fresh steamed hard crab with no seasoning, taken off the back and inside middle parts, stuffed with a crab cake, dipped in tempura batter, and then fried. If that doesn’t knock you back, I don’t know what will. 


Always Support Local


the shrimp boat ocmd
Crab trucks are constantly coming in daily at The Shrimp Boat.

White went on to express his love of supporting locals. Local crabbers, local fishermen, local farms- anything local is always going to be better. It’s great to keep money in the Ocean City economy. 


Employee Appreciation

The Shrimp Boat seems like a great place to work, not only because of the “outstanding customers,” but also because of the great boss they have. Several servers and crab steamers commented that work was actually “fun” because they had a great boss, a leader, and someone they were able to look up to. 


Why Are We The Best


the shrimp boat ocmd
This couple drives all the way from Easton to eat crabs at The Shrimp Boat!
the shrimp boat ocmd
Long time pals Kenny and Jack drive from Florida to get their steamed crab fix.

“We listen to the customers.” The only way to see if people are enjoying the food is to ask them. Joe walks the restaurant floor daily chatting with customers and asking about their dining experience. Patrons at The Shrimp Boat had wonderful things to say! “We travel all the way from Bethany to eat crabs here,” one couple said. Another family had been coming to The Shrimp Boat for over 20 years. They now bring their grandchildren to feast on their award winning crabs. Long time pals, Kenny and Jack, now live far from the Ocean City area, but make it a point to come meet up and have crabs at The Shrimp Boat as a tradition. “I can remember back when he first started steaming crabs for my family,” reminisced Jack, who comes all the way from Florida to dine on Joe’s crabs. 


Continuing The Shrimp Boat Legacy


To continue being The Best of Ocean City® White plans to continue doing exactly what he’s been doing for the past 34 years. Listening to customers, bringing in fresh local seafood, and serving the Ocean City community the best crabs money can buy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here